Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

What to look for in CAD laptop

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
Share
July 15, 2011 4:50:17 PM

I know this topic has been hit time and time again, though most people want to know the exact laptop to buy. I'm more interested in what specs I should be looking for in a machine that I will be using for the next 3 to 4 years.

I will be running programs such as Auto CAD, Revit Architecture, the Adobe programs, I will be rendering in the programs as well.
I do not game, although if I have the time one day I wouldn't be opposed to the idea.

What companies should I look at? I'm noticing that HP seems to be about the cheapest when compared to a similar configuration from say Dell. Im not opposed to companies other than the standard Dell, HP, Toshiba, etc. as long as they have good customer service and a reliable reputation (not saying I would call my HP netbook 'reliable' lol) I'm not trying to get anything crazy as I am just a student, so I'm trying to stay under $1700 after extended waranty and acident protection.

Given the programs listed above, how much RAM do I really need? I figure the more the merrier, but why spend an extra $100 just to get 2G more if say 6GB is ample. I also notice there is a difference in RAM aside from the amount of memory present, is this important?

Is there a difference in hard drives RPM speed?

What kind of video card should I be looking into?


Hopefully these questions can get the ball rolling such that I may be able to present a few configurations and see what you guys think.

Thank you,
Sean

More about : cad laptop

a b D Laptop
July 15, 2011 5:44:32 PM

You will definitely need a Core i7 SandyBridge processor.

You want 6-8 GB of RAM, more is better.

A good graphics card is important. vram is what is going to make a huge difference.

5400 RPM drives are fine, but they are slower, and you do not want to sacrifice time because you need to wait for files to load etc... I wouldn't recommend an SSD, but get a 7,200 RPM drive.


As for brands, don't go with HP, Toshiba... possibly, Asus is a great brand, MSI is also top quality. Dells... they aren't as bad as HP, but they aren't the best either.


I can give you a few recommendations of you like.
July 15, 2011 6:14:48 PM

Thanks for the info! Any further recomendations would be awesome. I saw MSI on newegg but I had never heard of them so I briefly skimmed them.
Related resources
July 16, 2011 2:50:55 AM

I would recommend a SSD because a 7200rpm drive is fractionally faster in these programs. past the initial load up they are either not any faster or 5%ish faster when it comes to rendering and that depends on the size of the file your rendering out. also get 4gb of ram and make sure it is one stick not two and just upgrade the ram your self for about 35 bucks.

if you are not rendering much then an i7 is is overkill. autocad uses one core two max and i suspect that you are an engineering student?
a b D Laptop
July 16, 2011 3:44:54 AM

I would use an SSD you will wear it out, there is a lot of data flow when it comes to rendering.. you will be continually moving files around etc... Unless you have a secondary drive, then stick to a 7,200 rpm drive. It will last longer. Plus, rendering speeds will be better because the SSD's bottleneck... is the writting part.
July 16, 2011 4:07:04 AM

hpfreak said:
I would use an SSD you will wear it out, there is a lot of data flow when it comes to rendering.. you will be continually moving files around etc... Unless you have a secondary drive, then stick to a 7,200 rpm drive. It will last longer. Plus, rendering speeds will be better because the SSD's bottleneck... is the writting part.


the wearing out part makes sense but you wouldnt have your work files on the ssd. but the ssd will not have a slower write speed compared to a hdd atleast any decent SSD
July 16, 2011 4:09:54 AM

I think that 1700$ for a student laptop is way too much. Consider 800$ laptop. I just looked at the recomendation for Autocad and they don't ask for serious hardware. So, I wouls say a good dual core, 4 gigs and a fast 7200HDD. I would also look at laptop with the new Fusion APU from AMD. Maybe the integrated graphic core would help rendring and be very acceptable for casual gaming. And in 3 years, when the next good thing will be there, you will still have another 900$ that you saved from the first laptop to get a better one, that will be more powerfull that your present 1700$ one..
a b D Laptop
July 16, 2011 5:05:32 AM

I only looked for a few minutes so there are probably better deals but this is what I found (to show what you could get at a lower price.) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i7, 8gb ram, dedicated card, 7200rpm hdd for 1000-1200.

Just to correct some comments. Ssds last for as long as hdd and while they do have slower writes than their reads (depends more on the model of how much), it's still much faster than a hdd. But this is not what's giving the big performance boost, it's the access times for this type of work. This being said I'd still say save the money and stick with a hdd in a laptop.

But then again for this work I don't like suggesting laptops.
July 16, 2011 6:50:12 PM

Thanks for all the helpful posts. The computer will be used for architecure rather than engineering, but I don't think that makes much difference.

The $1700 (hopefully under 1500) cap was to include an additional 3yr full warranty, any extra batteries, do-dads, shipping, etc. I guess I should have stated my cap on the actual laptop to be around the $900 - $1200 range.

As for SSD I don't think my budget allows for one, but from what I gather from everyones posts, a 7200rpm HDD will suffice? As for RAM is the 4 to 6GB range going to be sufficient?

I looked into the MSI computers on Newegg and they seem to have great specs for the price when compared to more 'name brand' companies. I have not dealt with Newegg in probably 6 or 7 years, but I'm guessing the customer service is still very reasonable?
July 16, 2011 7:02:00 PM

the two limiting factors you are going to find is the hdd and ram. ideally you would have an infinite supply of ram but thats not possible so the more the better. rendering loves ram. So when you run out of ram it starts to use virtual ram which is just space on the hard drive. that is where a fast hard drive will be better and where the SSD will be superior but SSD have a limited amount of writes till the wear out. idk where that number is now but its a large number.

i will tell you this. you will not regret getting a SSD.
!